Trunk monkey lets a car carry oversized loads
Richard "R.P." Miller owned a pickup truck when he was hauling all the bricks and other materials and tools he needed to build the patio behind his house in Chesterfield Township, Mich. But that truck had given way to a Toyota Corolla by the time his wife decided she wanted to patio extended around the corner of the house.
"Now I have a Corolla and I need to rent a big machine to vibrate and stamp the sand base into place," Miller says. "Do I have to rent a truck?"
Miller didn't want to spend that extra money, so he got to thinking. He even went to his local tool rental store to see if it had a device that would extend his car's trunk to carry such a load.
"They told me they'd been losing customers for years," because they couldn't carry large items home in their trunks," Miller learned. So he screwed together some 2x6s and built what amount to a trunk extender and cargo base. After some additional development, he's produced a metal frame that he's selling as the Trunk Monkee.
Miller, 65, has a history of invention. He previously devised the Ring Pattern, a system that irrigates flowers and shrubs without wasting water on the rest of the yard.
Miller also has history with automobiles. He was service manager for a Mercedes-Benz dealership, had his own indoor exotic used car dealership, owned a paintless dent removal service and has a service that inspects cars coming off lease before they go to auction.
The Trunk Monkee is made from steel and is sourced and produced locally, except for corner brackets that Miller says he's only been able to find from a Chinese producer. The Monkee fits inside the trunk when not being used, then can be adjusted as needed to carry a load between the open trunk lid and the lip of the trunk opening.
Miller says the product has been verified by a physicist and inspected by the Michigan state police. It can carry 250 pounds and can be used to carry everything from a dorm-room refrigerator to a large snowblower or a power scooter used by those with disabilities.
Miller also has developed what he calls the Monkee Claw, a device designed to secure cargo carried on the Trunk Monkee without damaging the plastic bumper covers found on late model cars.
The Trunk Monkee and Monkee Claw are sold through the www.trunkmonkee.com website. The standard Monkee is priced at $139 and a deluxe powder coated version is $245.
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